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More than a hundred brave swimmers took the plunge into an unheated pool for a homeless charity.

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The plucky volunteers took to Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill, on Saturday, raising more than £9,000 for Crisis at Christmas.

Comedian Jo Brand started the event, where the water measured just four celsius.

Speaking to local news site Brixton Blog, Brand said: “Crisis is an absolutely fantastic charity which offers so much to the homeless in London over Christmas. To do an event like this which is such a good laugh, and combine the two is great. Everyone watching it is loving it.”

She added: ”This area of south London is slightly barmier and bonkerser than up north London.”

The swimmers, some in fancy dress, chose to jump in and out of the art deco-style lido, or to swim 100m in front of the cheering crowds.

The money raised will go to support rough sleepers across London over the festive period, with food and temporary accomodation.

Crisis at Christmas provides warmth, companionship and vital services to over 3,000 homeless and vulnerably housed people from 23 to 30 December. The event is run by an army of 8,000 volunteers who give up their own Christmas to help others.

Numbers of rough sleepers have risen sharply in the capital. 5,678 people slept rough at some point in London during 2011/12, an increase of 43 per cent on the previous year’s total of 3,975.

Lambeth mayor, cllr Clive Bennett, said: “This is important for Lambeth because it’s about giving back to the community.

“People are making a huge effort and some of them are over the moon trying to get themselves out of the water but so thrilled about giving their domation to Crisis at Christmas.”

For more information go to www.crisis.org.uk.

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